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When looking for a new book to read, the first thing a potential reader will notice is the book title. That split second can make the difference between a reader looking further at the book or continuing to browse. So how to choose a book title that’s catchy and interesting? Test your title ideas on PickFu.

In this book title test, an author presented two different book titles and asked 50 respondents which they liked better.

Option A was The Unexpected Picasso, and Option B was Ndugu: The Portrait Painter Who Couldn’t Paint.

Can you guess which book title won?

And the winner is…

With a strong majority, 76% of respondents preferred Option A: The Unexpected Picasso. Out of 50 total responses, The Unexpected Picasso got 38 votes while Ndugu: The Portrait Painter Who Couldn’t Paint earned only 12.

So why did the first title do so much better with the voters?

Keep your title short and sweet

A recurring theme with the Option A crowd is they prefer a short title that’s easy to remember. With only three words in the title, voters liked how the winning option was, as one respondent put it, “simple and gets to the point.”

Many respondents also pointed out that because this title was concise, it would be easier to talk about with friends and family. One voter pointed out that Option A was “simple and catchy,” but Option B “seems too wordy and long to read.”

Use recognizable references

Picasso is a household name, which means The Unexpected Picasso instantly brings up a feeling of familiarity with potential readers. Several of the respondents commented that the mention of Picasso was enough to spark their interest and make them curious about the book.

When it came to Option B, many voters commented that Ndugu: The Portrait Painter Who Couldn’t Paint was too long and complicated for a book title. There was clear concern about the name Ndugu as well. Voters weren’t sure who Ndugu was or how to pronounce the name, so they immediately lost interest.

Despite the tricky name, Option B did receive some positive feedback, albeit a minority. One respondent mentioned that the contradiction of Ndugu: The Portrait Painter Who Couldn’t Paint sucked her right in. Another thought this title was more original, and yet another commented that it sounded like “a humorous and exciting story.”

Still, with only 24% of voters preferring Option B, it should make the question of how to choose a book title an easy one.

How to choose a book title

This featured book title test shows there is a sweet spot between a short title and one just long enough to create interest. Get creative and clever with your title, but avoid words and names that aren’t well-known or easy to pronounce. Read more tips for book titles, create a list of potential names, and then test them out.

Testing your title

Ready to test different titles for your own book? Start your own PickFu poll and see your results in just 15 minutes!


Robyn Petrik

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